Three albums into a career is a bit early for a band to have settled into a formula, perhaps, but any fans of the first two albums by Christian emo outfit Number One Gun will find album number three, The North Pole Project, more of the same: melodic meat and potatoes alt rock with generally positive lyrics that nonetheless allow for some spiritual doubt. The irony of this particular album is that it was recorded after lead singer and songwriter Jeff Schneeweis fired the rest of the band's original lineup and reinvented Number One Gun as a solo project in all but name. He sings and plays every note on this self-produced record, making it unclear just how much the rest of the band had been bringing to the table in the first place. No matter, since Schneeweis' appealing voice, less whiny than most emo singers and less strident than many CCM singers, has always been Number One Gun's strongest feature, and he's in good form throughout The North Pole Project. Highlights include the first single "Wake Me Up," which features the album's most immediately catchy chorus, the solo acoustic changeup "The Different Ones," and the atypical "This Holiday," which trades Schneeweis' familiar emo framework for a straight-up pop song. The last is such a pleasant surprise that it bodes well for a change of direction if Schneeweis decides to shake things up again for his next record.
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason